Multiple sharks spotted off Jones Beach day after lifeguard possibly bitten

JONES BEACH, Long Island (WABC) -- Multiple sharks were spotted off Jones Beach Tuesday, one day after a lifeguard there was potentially bitten, and as a result, swimming has been prohibited until further notice.

The sharks were seen near Central Mall around, and state police who responded with a drone were able to spot the sharks as well.

The sharks that were spotted include at least two thresher sharks and one sand shark.

New York State Parks initiated additional measures to protect Long Island beachgoers from potential shark interactions, including heightened patrols and monitoring, as well as public outreach to raise awareness about sharks.

When a shark is spotted, there is a process that has to take place before the beach can reopen.

"Our protocol is that once a shark is reported to be sighted if we hear or don't see another report we will authorize swimming again," said George Gorman with NYS Parks. "Today has been a little unusual, and we did have that possible bite yesterday. So that timing has been extended."

Drone video taken by a lifeguard showed a large school of bluefish, which is a fish that sharks feed on.

The drone and helicopter monitoring will continue along the Long Island State Park beaches, including Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Parks.

"Long Island beaches are a crucial resource for New Yorkers in summer, and we must make sure people feel safe when visiting," State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. "With assistance from New York State Police, we are expanding our measures to patrol for sharks and other potentially dangerous marine animals. I encourage all New Yorkers to familiarize themselves with the steps they can take to stay safe while enjoying a day at the beach."

State Parks and State Police will take the following actions:
--Enhance lifeguard staffing
--Increase patrols on the beach by lifeguards, Park Police and Park staff
--Deploy Lifeguards in surfboats to patrol in the water
--Deploy Park Police patrol boats to search the water.
--Provide additional drone monitoring of the swimming waters New York State Police and Jones Beach Lifeguard Corp.
--Dispatch New York State Police helicopter patrols over the South Shore waters

A lifeguard at Jones Beach State Park reported a potential interaction with a shark while in the water near Central Mall at approximately 11 a.m. on Monday.

The lifeguard reported a possible shark bite on his left calf that measured about 1 inch in length. He said he saw a fin in the water.

EMTs on the scene provided initial treatment to the lifeguard, who was referred to a local hospital for further examination and treatment.

An investigation into the nature of the interaction is ongoing.

State Parks continues to follow its shark alert protocols. Under these guidelines, swimming is suspended while the shoreline is inspected by drone. Swimming is only allowed to resume at least an hour after the last sighting. All sightings, including today's incident, are referred to the Long Island Coastal Awareness Group, which consists of 160 municipalities, agencies and private beach operators stretching from Queens through Long Island. State Parks created this alert system in 2018 after shark interactions off Fire Island. State Park lifeguards are continuously scanning and patrolling the waters and are on the lookout for any dangerous marine life, such as sharks.

To minimize the risk of shark interactions, the state Department of Environmental Conservation advises the following shark safety tips:
--Avoid areas with seals.
--Avoid areas with schools of bait fish, often characterized by fish splashing on the surface, diving sea birds, or the presence of marine mammals such as dolphins.
--Avoid areas where people are fishing.
--Avoid swimming in the ocean at dusk, dawn, or night time.
--Avoid murky water.
--Avoid isolation. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups.
--Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom.
--Always follow instructions of lifeguards and parks staff.
--Adhere to all signage at beaches.

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County Executive Laura Curran and police officials say they are boosting the surveillance of the shoreline to help alert beachgoers and swimmers to the presence of sharks.



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